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Andrew Gillum is Director of Youth Leadership Programs. An alumnus of Florida A&M University (FAMU), former president of the Student Government Association, and FAMU's first student member of the Board of Trustees, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the four-member Tallahassee City Commission in February 2003. Gillum has held prominent leadership roles such as Mayor Pro Tem, ChairmanCapital Region Transportation Planning Agency and lead commissioner for the Long Range Community Based Target Issue Committee. In keeping with his mantra to uplift and build the collective community, Gillum has championed several community initiatives including the Nims Middle School Digital Harmony Pilot Program, the Landlord Tenant Mediation Program; the Code Enforcement Amnesty Program; and the creation of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Park. Gillum served as Field Organizer and statewide Director of the "Arrive With 5" program with People For the American Way Foundation. He organized the largest "Arrive With 5" get-out-the-vote campaign in Florida's history. He also worked as Deputy Political Director with the Florida Democratic Party. He founded PFAW Foundation's Young Elected Officials program, which unites elected officials age 35 and under in a network which supports them with leadership and personal development training and public policy support.
Former Advanced Leadership Coordinator Anthony V. Stevens attended North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University where he studied International Affairs, and graduated from the University of North Carolina--Charlotte where he majored in Africana studies. At YP4, Anthony coordinates Fellows long-term relationship with the organization by engaging them in the advanced leadership development programs. A native Washingtonian with over five years of experience in leadership development and political campaigning, Anthony most recently worked as a scheduler for a nationwide bus tour, 1911 United, aimed at combating youth gun violence. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Regional GOTV Director for a congressional campaign in South Carolina. In 2012, he served as a Field Organizer for Obama For America-NC where he and his volunteer teams increased voter turnout by nearly 10% in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Right after the campaign, he served as a Volunteer Captain for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He is also an alumnus of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundations’ Emerging Leaders program.
Andrea Sosa is the Policy and Civic Engagement Associate at Young People For, where she supports the organization’s civic engagement programs and campaigns. She has a variety of experience in student networks, social justice advocacy and public policy. In the past, she has worked with the Roosevelt Network, the nation’s largest student think tank, in a variety of capacities including organizing and curriculum development, and in various issue areas including economic development and prison reform. In these efforts, she coordinated a national network of students working towards pushing their universities to invest in their local communities’ economic development. She has also worked with the AFL-CIO, contributing to their trade and globalization policy and advocacy efforts in Washington, DC. She has authored work published in The Baltimore Sun, the Roosevelt Network’s Equal Justice policy journal, the AFL-CIO Blog, and The Huffington Post. Andrea is originally from Tampico, Mexico, and has also lived in Dallas, Texas and Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from Goucher College in 2016, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and French. You can reach Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org
Young People For (YP4) Director Joy Lawson is an expert in multi-issue leadership development, youth civic engagement, and grassroots organizing around reproductive rights. Under Joy’s leadership YP4 has launched the first local Front Line Leaders Academy - a premier leadership development program offered to folks interested in greater civic participation; expanded its presence in the Midwest, South, and at community colleges; launched initiatives focused on limiting the influence of money in elections, advocating for fair and just courts, and increasing voter engagement; trained over 850 aspiring nonprofit, community, and elected leaders; and reengaged over 60% of YP4 alumni. Prior to joining PFAW in 2010, served as National Field Associate and later as Midwestern States Field Coordinator at URGE (formerly Choice USA). Joy Lawson began her career as a student organizer at the University of Kansas. There she worked with local organizations as well as city and state school boards to ensure Kansas youth received medically accurate sex education. For her work on sex education, Joy was awarded URGE’s Generation-to-Generation Chapter Leadership Award. Joy joined the People For staff in February 2010 as YP4's Advanced Leadership and Alumni Program Manager. Joy is also a Midwest Academy graduate, a 2006 Grassroots Organizing Weekend trainer, a proud Rockwood Art of Leadership: Women in Racial Justice alum, and a current fellow of CoreAlign’s Speaking Race to Power fellowship. Joy sits on the leadership team of Hunt Alternative’s Political Parity program and the Emily Taylor Center on Women and Gender at University of Kansas. Joy can be reached at email@example.com.
Coordinator of Member Advancement Karen was bit by the campaign bug early in life and began volunteering and interning on several campaigns across her home state of Arizona. She graduated from Cornell University in 2012 with a degree in Policy Analysis and Management. While at Cornell, she ran four years of Varsity Track and Field and wrote for the top-ranked Cornell Daily Sun newspaper. During her senior year, Karen began working on the campaign of current Ithaca Mayor, Svante Myrick. She served as his campaign Field Director. After successfully knocking on every door in the City of Ithaca ten or more times, Mayor Myrick became the youngest mayor in the State of New York and Ithaca’s first African American Mayor by winning all eighteen election districts with 55 percent of the vote. Karen continued her work on grassroots campaigns for another young elected official, Nate Shinagawa. She worked as his Field Director on his nationally-recognized Congressional race in the Southern Tier of New York. Despite being in a relatively conservative district and outspent two-to-one, the campaign came within just points of defeating the incumbent Congressman. These two campaigns taught Karen the influence and impact that young people can have within their own communities. Most recently, Karen has worked in U.S. Senator Charles Schumer’s Syracuse office as his Deputy Regional Director. Karen looks to incorporate the skills learned in Senator Schumer’s office with her campaign field experience to engage and empower the next generation of progressive leaders through YP4. Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Williamson is the Interim Director of Young People For. Since joining PFAW Foundation in July 2012 as the Fellowship Program Manager for Young People For, she has worked to develop the newest generation of progressive leaders in the United States through trainings, mentorship, and support of social justice projects. She has also led programmatic advancement and resource development for Young People For and its sister youth leadership development program, the Young Elected Officials Network, building relationships and support for both programs’ work in the philanthropic community. Previously, Laura worked as the Education Outreach Coordinator at Puentes New Orleans, a nonprofit organization working with the Latino community to demand the inclusion of Latinos in public, political, and socio-economic life. At Puentes Laura coordinated leadership development programming and supported high school students organizing for racial and economic justice. A native North Carolinian, Laura is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in English and International Studies. Laura also spent a year doing graduate coursework in public policy and social planning at La Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina.
Maryssa T. Hall is the Fellowship Program Manager at Young People For (YP4) and a fierce Black and Latinx Queer Womxn that wears her identities as badges of honor. As Fellowship Program Manager, Maryssa oversees aspects of the Fellowship Program including recruiting and selecting a diverse cohort of 150 Fellows each year, training the most critically conscious young people from across the country to think globally and act locally, supporting Fellows on their leadership development and Blueprints for Social Justice, and organizing all YP4 Regional Trainings and National Summits. Originally from the Bay Area, she graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Afro-American Studies and Political Science. While at UCLA, Maryssa was involved in a number of radical student organizations that focus on increasing access and retention of students of color to the University and addressing inequalities in our local and global community. In addition, Maryssa led several youth led campaigns including but not limited to “Repeal Prop 209” and “UC Students for SCA 5” which focused on repealing and nullifying the anti-affirmative action laws in California and “Fund the UC” a campaign that sought alternative funding sources for public education by reforming Proposition 13 in California. From 2012-2013, she served as the External Public Relations Coordinator for the Afrikan Student Union at UCLA while simultaneously serving on the United States Student Association Board of Directors as the People of Afrikan Descent Caucus Chairperson. In May of 2013, she was elected as the Undergraduate External Vice President at UCLA and was charged with representing all 29,000 undergraduates at a local, state and national level. In addition, she served on the University Of California Student Association Board Of Directors where she represented all 250,000 UC students. During her term as EVP, she brought the 25th Annual UCSA Student of Color Conference to UCLA and organized an action with over 1600 students from across California. After graduation, Maryssa moved back to the Bay Area and joined the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Public Allies AmeriCorps program where she served as a College Success Academic Counselor for a non-profit in East Palo Alto to increase access to higher education for under resourced students of color in the surrounding community. Maryssa can be reached at email@example.com.
Saryn Francis is Young People For’s Communications Associate. Saryn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Howard University in 2015. She was born in Plano, Texas, and raised in the United States Virgin Islands on the island of St. Thomas. While at Howard, Saryn served as a News Director and Production Director for Howard University’s student run radio station, WHBC 96.3 HD3. She also was a host/producer on Sirius XM Channel 141 HUR Voices on a show called Internal Affairs. There, she produced and shows featuring topics that affected college students and interviewed professionals for current event discussions. Saryn also has interned for ABC and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. After college, she interned with her Delegate to Congress, the Honorable Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands where she served as a Press Secretary Intern. Most recently she worked as an Associate Journalist at WNEW 99.1 FM where she conducted and edited off-air interviews, assisted producers in writing and researching stories. Saryn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fellowship Associate Vidushani Jayalal is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland (UMD). During her time at UMD, Vidushani engaged students in direct service and reflective dialogue through service-learning projects. After graduating, Vidushani served as the Health Advocacy Fellow at the League of United Latin American Citizens where she focused on supporting and advocating alongside local communities on healthy living and health care issues. Vidushani brings with her skills in curriculum development, grassroots organizing, and mentorship. In her position at YP4, Vidushani supports fellows through the Blueprint and Individual Leadership Development Plan, in addition to working to grow YP4 curriculum and strengthen the mentorship program. Vidushani can be reached at email@example.com.